Jerica Coley continues to Strengthen Legacy

Senior point guard Jerica Coley has earned numerous awards and honors in her FIU tenure, and now she will have to make room for yet another award.

Recently the native from St. Petersburg, Fla. was named the Sun Belt Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year becoming the second FIU athlete ever to earn the honor.

“I feel honored to get that huge award, and there were a lot of people who obviously had a hand in me getting that award, so thanks to all those people I couldn’t name them all though,” Coley said.

Clearly, with all the statistics Coley has amassed and the awards she has received, anyone can tell she is excelling on the court and that she takes the athlete part very serious. However, no one should underestimate how much Coley excels in the classroom, as Coley takes the student part equally serious if not more than the athlete part. With the impressive numbers Coley has on the court, she has kept above a 3.0 in her Grade Point Average while at FIU and working on getting a Master’s degree.

“It’s all about time management and just knowing what’s important and prioritizing which I’m sure all of us do, school over basketball and basketball over other stuff you might want to go out and do,” Coley said. “Luckily for me what I think is fun is to stay in my room and sleep when I have extra time and watch movies otherwise its school and basketball.”

Coley is coming off a remarkable season where she averaged 26.3 points per game and was the nation’s leading scorer and helped lead the Panthers to the WNIT tournament for a second consecutive year. Along with the consecutive WNIT appearances, Coley racked up back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honors becoming the first FIU athlete to do so.

With the breakout season came, a website created by the FIU athletics department dedicated to the star point guard. Though the site was a bit much to handle at first, Coley credits her teammates for helping her cope with all the hype and attention.

“It was a fun year of course, and I didn’t really expect any of it,” Coley said. “I love teammates as they made it easy for me on the floor, and they were cool about me receiving all these extra things and recognition.”

It has become a trend in male college basketball with star players usually attend a university for one year at least and then forgo the rest of their eligibility to become professional athletes. Though Coley has the talent of these athletes, her attitude and goals are much different. For Coley, the decision on whether to forgo her senior season and enter the WNBA Draft or to play her final season in college seemed like a no brainer for her.

“I definitely would come back, and stay here in school to finish. That’s what I came here for, which is for school,” Coley said.

Despite all the awards, recognitions and the accolades the senior has earned, she is still hungry and even though she is on pace to break almost every all-time offensive record next year during her senior campaign, Coley’s goals remain team oriented.

“The only thing we really look forward to doing next year is winning in the Conference USA Tournament and going to the NCAA Tournament,” Coley said. “And definitely need to have others step up so when the seniors leave the younger players can take over so that we can continue to have better seasons even after we leave.”


About the Author

Francisco Rivero
: FIU Student Media Sports Director, Co-Host of Panther Sports Talk Live, Sports and Opinion writer, Communications major.

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